Advising with empathy and experience

NHS Trust and senior doctor criticised by Coroner.

A senior doctor and an NHS trust have been criticised by a coroner after the deaths of ten cancer patients.

Consultant urologist, Paul Miller, was sacked by East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, in 2014 amid concerns about the treatment provided to patients.

An inquest concluded that the patients had all died from natural causes but there had been "missed opportunities" and "sub-optimal care” and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was criticised for failing to act.

The patients, who all died between 2006 and 2015 and were treated by Mr Miller, were: Keith Reynolds, 68; Leslie Owers, 75; Lilian Cole, 82; Martin Turner, 86; Renfried Avery, 80; Frederick Le Vallois, 71; Ian Spurgeon, 85; Alan Burgess, 72; Graham Stoten, 57; and Jose Cressy, 76.

At the inquest, the coroner Penelope Schofield said Mr Avery, Mr Owers and Mr Stoten died from natural causes, but that this was contributed to by neglect.

She added: "These findings point to a gross failure to provide basic medical attention."

In the case of Mr Le Vallois, the coroner said Mr Miller had delayed experimental ultrasound treatment, while a "business case" was built for the high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) machine he co-owned. She said that this was "wholly inappropriate.”

Ms Schofield recorded a conclusion of death by natural causes for Mr Burgess, Ms Cressy, and Mr Le Vallois, but identified "missed opportunities" in their care.

She added that Ms Cressy and Mr Le Vallois may have lived if opportunities to identify the extent of their cancers had not been missed.

Verdicts of death by natural causes were also returned for the remaining four patients: Ms Cole, Mr Reynolds, Mr Spurgeon and Mr Turner.

The coroner found the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was ill-prepared to deal with staff complaints and opportunities were missed to act on concerns about Mr Miller.

Ms Schofield added: "What was going on in the urology department between 2008 and 2014 led to sub-optimal care to each and every one of the deceased."

However, she said it was clear the trust had addressed many of the difficulties present during the time of the deaths.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust medical director, Dr Ed Cetti, said the culture of its organisation had since been transformed with the independent regulator rating the trust as outstanding earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.